I haven’t seen the movie, Long Walk To Freedom, but I of course know a significant part of the Mandela story. Everyone does. I am, in general, a supporter of freedom fighters (you know, the kind of terrorists we like). I think everyone should have the right to choose their own future, the right to self-determination, self-rule. Now, sometimes that’s going to mean you have to support people with different views than yourself, but that’s okay, because if the world was homogenous, we’d all be pretty boring. But it’s not difficult to support people who are being oppressed simply because of the color of their skin. I think in most any case you’d not want that to happen to you, so why visit it on someone else.
The suggestion for the song is that the ordinary love is that between Winnie and Nelson Mandela, that the two of them were separated for so long and they could not eventually survive that. In Bono’s words, the idea in movies is usually that of extraordinary love, the thought of going above and beyond all the time, but also is the thought of ordinary love, that of the everyday togetherness, and what that means to a couple. Having been married now for almost seventeen years, I’ll be totally honest and admit that yes, the extraordinary sometimes drifts away, and you’re left with the ordinary. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just the nature of being together for so long. It makes the extraordinary efforts pop out when they happen. You go with the ups and downs, and work them out as best you can, or as the saying goes, for better or worse. For myself I can’t imagine things being any different, or wanting them to be. For Nelson Mandela, he lived the extraordinary life, and couldn’t deal with just the ordinary when it came to him.
The song itself is good, the music is nice enough although nothing outstanding. The lyrics are a little opaque to me, I’m not sure I get the point that Bono is trying to put across, even with the descriptions given above. There are parts which make perfect sense (“I can’t fight you anymore, it’s you I’m fighting for”) but the main point misses for me. The idea that you can’t go any lower or higher because you can’t feel ordinary love, that’s not of much sense to me. It tells me that you have to be able to feel the ordinariness to go up or down, when I don’t think that’s true. I think you can have that extraordinary and have great changes. Now, can it last without the ordinary? Maybe that’s the point.
There’s two versions of the video for Ordinary Love, although I’m not quite sure why. It’s not like they’re wildly different. The first one, the lyric video, is interesting, a lot of animation and video effects to show the words on screen. The second is the same, slightly different twists in that the effects are less, or less organized, and there are a few shots of the band here and there, singing occasionally. But mostly the same images.
My rating for Ordinary Love: 4 / 10